Investigators are searching for the missing panel that fell off an Alaska Airlines’ jet that is believed to be in a suburb near Portland, Oregon.
Investigators are currently searching for the missing panel that fell off an Alaska Airlines’ jet fuselage during a flight on Friday.
National Transportation Safety Board chair Jennifer Homendy said investigators believed the missing part was located somewhere in Cedar Hills, Oregon, a suburb around seven miles away from Portland.
“If you find that, please, please contact local law enforcement,” Homendy said during a press conference late Saturday.
Homendy added that the NTSB was also looking for pictures and videos of inside the aircraft.
The flight, AS 1282, bound for Ontario, California, landed back in Portland after the mid-cabin door plug of its Boeing 737 Max 9 aircraft suddenly fell off, resulting in a rapid decompression. No one was seriously injured during that accident.
Homendy said the NTSB is primarily concerned with the singular Alaska aircraft rather than the whole 737 Max 9 fleet.
“We are not focused on the fleet,” Homendy said. “But nothing is out. We’ll go where the investigation takes us.” However, the FAA said on Sunday that the 737 Max 9 grounding will remain in effect until it is “satisfied that they are safe.”
Homendy said that the accident appeared to impact seats 25A and 26A on the aircraft, as the headrests went missing, along with the backseat of 26A. Homendy said those two seats were unoccupied, according to Reuters.
Max 9 Groundings Cause Cancellations
The accident prompted the Federal Aviation Administration to order a temporary grounding of all 737 Max 9 aircraft and require immediate inspections. Alaska and United are the only two U.S. carriers that operate the 737 Max 9, but the mandate also affected international carriers that operate the aircraft for flights to the U.S.
Aeromexico, Copa Airlines and Turkish Airlines grounded their 737 Max 9 jets for inspection following the FAA order.
United said it canceled 180 flights on Sunday due to the 737 Max 9 grounding, but was able to switch 85 of its 265 flights scheduled with the 737 Max 9 to a different aircraft type.
Alaska had 163 flight cancellations as of Sunday afternoon, and the carrier said it expected the disruptions to last until at least mid-week.
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